20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

Thirty-five years later, Debbie Vasquez's voice trembled as she described her trauma to a group of Southern Baptist leaders. She was 14, she said, when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger, a tiny prairie town an hour north of Dallas. It was the first of many assaults that Vasquez said destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant by the Southern Baptist pastor, a married man more than a dozen years older.


In June 2008, she paid her way to Indianapolis, where she and others asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and its 47,000 churches to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers. Vasquez, by then in her 40s, implored them to consider prevention policies like those adopted by faiths that include the Catholic Church.



This article was printed by the Houston Chronicle and written by Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco. To read the whole story, click the article link below.


20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

As leaders decline to act, the numbers grow. In the past 20 years, about 400 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. They were pastors. Deacons. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school and Christian school teachers. Church program volunteers.




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